Massage therapy can work wonders for your health. While many people find the pleasure of stress relief reason enough to get a massage, there are remarkable health benefits. From helping you to get a better night’s sleep to boosting your immune system, getting a massage is an excellent way to increase your health and your quality of life.
One of the key benefits of massage is better sleep. Insomnia, a habitual inability to achieve sleep, is quite often the result of some combination of stress, anxiety, depression, and pain. You may develop insomnia from work-related stress and long hours. Worse, sleep deprivation produces a buildup of pain-causing chemicals in the body.
The good news is that massage can make a tremendous difference. A massage will help your nervous system to relax, dispelling the tension of stress, worry, and fear. Massage also stimulates a release of serotonin, which is the natural way our bodies combat chemicals that cause pain and depression.
And best of all, it turns out getting a good night’s sleep has plenty of amazing health benefits. People who get enough sleep have a lower risk of obesity and long-term diseases, are less prone to substance abuse, and are actually more productive at work.
A second major benefit of massage therapy is increased immune function. An entire field of study, psychoneuroimmunology, has been created to study the connections between mental health and physical health.
What the findings all indicate is that stress places a significant burden on the immune system.
The demands stress places on the body, specifically through the stress hormone cortisol, result in the production of fewer of the T-cells our bodies need to fight infection, the gamma interferons that boost our immunity, and the natural “killer cells” that fight tumors and viral infections.
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Fortunately, the solution is elegantly simple: by reducing stress, one can restore immune function. Massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol, which helps our bodies build up natural levels of the immune system cells we need to fight infections.
What this means is that getting a good massage on a regular basis is actually a remarkably effective way of making sure you are in top shape to fight off seasonal colds.
Finally, if you are active in sports, there are performance-related athletic benefits to massage. Sports massage helps athletes increase their performance and recover faster from the effects of exercise by targeting the cardiovascular system.
Because massage dilates (expands) blood vessels, it encourages better circulation back to the heart. This in turn means better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissue, and more efficient removal of waste products and toxins.
Enhanced circulation also affects the muscular system. Better blood flow and more oxygen and nutrients means reduced muscle tension, less soreness, and shorter recovery times. Sports message even helps muscles gain a better range of motion and increased muscle flexibility.
Stress reduction, of course, is also very beneficial to athletes, much as it is for everyone else. Reduced stress can help athletes be more focused, which in turn can give them a competitive edge.
Massage may be one of the best and most cost-effective ways to improve your health and quality of life. From better sleep to reduced stress, a healthier immune system, and increased athletic performance, massage can help you experience the world in a new way.